The Scorpion King (2002)


Live Free.  Rule Well.

This review request serves two purposes.  The first is that it’s a trilogy and one that, by the end of these reviews, will probably make the Jurassic Park trilogy look so much better.  The second purpose it serves is to knock out another review request from coworker Eric.  Today’s movie is not the movie that was requested, but the first part in the trilogy.  Eric suggested that I review the third movie, which will most likely be awful.  I decided to watch all three, so that I don’t get left out of the highly cerebral storyline.  Well, let’s jump into it.  The first movie in this trilogy is a spinoff of another movie franchise called The Mummy, making this movie The Scorpion King, written by Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, and David Hayter, directed by Chuck Russell, and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli, Branscombe Richmond, Roger Rees, Ralph Moeller, and Tyler Mane.

The Akkadians are the baddest group of assassin’s in the land.  The last three remaining Akkadians – Mathayus (The Rock), his half-brother Jesup (Branscombe Richmond), and some other random dude – are hired by King Pheron (Roger Rees) to kill the sorcerer that is bringing victory to the Egyptian Emperor Memnon (Steven Brand) with her prophetic powers.  The three Akkadians get into Memnon’s camp and are instantly ambushed, having been betrayed by King Pheron’s son, Takmet (Peter Facinelli).  Mathayus escapes the ambush, but the other two Akkadians fall.  Mathayus gets into the tent of the sorcerer but finds that it is not some old dude as you’d expect.  Instead, it’s super hot Cassandra (Kelly Hu).  Memnon and his troops enter the tent and capture Mathayus, but Cassandra predicts that horrible things will happen to Memnon if he orders Mathayus executed.  Instead, Mathayus is sentenced to be buried in the sand and have ants eat his head, along with horse thief Arpid (Grant Heslov).  Together, they escape, and Mathayus sets his sights on getting revenge on Memnon.

Much like the majority of the movies that this movie spun off from, I found this movie to be a lot of fun.  It’s not particularly smart or well-written, but it’s fun and has some great fight scenes in it.  And, since that should be what you expect when going into a movie like this, you should leave fairly satisfied.  The opening of the movie serves little purpose to the story and is only there to show that The Rock is a badass.  He’s just going in and saving his brother from some small group of people that are going to kill him, and he does with extreme prejudice.  Immediately afterwards, this scene is completely forgotten about because, as I said, it had nothing to do with the story.  But it was a pretty badass fight.  It sets up how badass the Rock is by having him inexplicably climbing up a cliff with a giant boulder attached to his back (the point of which I still don’t know), then he drops in through the chimney, emerges from a cloud of smoke, and whoops ass on everyone in the tent single-handedly.  He even knocks someone out by wrapping his bow around their head, pulling it taught, and letting it snap on their face.  That’s the international sign of a badass.  The movie’s actual story picks up right after this scene.  It’s a decent story without any surprises, but it’s mainly just set up for more fights.  It’s a basic tale of revenge that is then superseded by taking out an evil ruler for the greater good, then you throw a little love story in the middle.  But the action and the fights are fun, some of the dialogue borders on clever, while other parts of the dialogue are just cheesy.  Like at the end of the clash of the titans (The Rock and Michael Clarke Duncan) where the Rock says “We are brothers in the same cause”, and should probably be given an award for delivering that line while keeping a straight face.  It’s the kind of movie that you just need to shut your brain off and look at all the pretty colors.  If you don’t, you may get bothered by the fact that they totally ripped off Indiana Jones by having him cut the giant gong thing off and rolling it out the window to escape a hail of arrows.

The performances accomplished what they came to do.  Personally, I like watching the Rock.  I don’t know if everyone feels the same as I do, but that guy’s charismatic.  And, above that, he’s so much better at fake ass-kicking than most action movie stars.  One person I like watching way more than the Rock is Kelly Hu.  Gundamn that’s a good lookin’ bird!  And this movie features her in one of two phases: nearly naked, and completely naked.  Yeah, you don’t see anything because of strategically placed hair, but I’m okay with it.  I know that Michael Clarke Duncan can really bring it in the acting department, but he left it at home for this movie.  He didn’t need his acting chops for this movie.  It seems like he likes to just do a couple of dumb movies that he’ll have fun with, and that’s what he did here.  I never really believed Steven Brand as a badass.  I just can’t see this unimpressive white boy being a threat to the Rock.  It’s kind of the same thing they did in Shanghai Knights, where they decided the bad guy would be this unimpressive white guy so they just said that he was the greatest sword fighter ever so you have to just give it a pass.

An unimpressive story and some corny dialogue does very little to remove this movie from the soft spot in my heart … that I still need to get a doctor to look at.  Good action, fun times, and an appealing cast – including the Rock in his first starring role and super hot Kelly Hu – makes this movie enjoyable.  I actually purchased this twice, but I’m not saying that as cause for you to purchase it at least once.  I just upgraded to BluRay.  I cannot promise that you will have the same kind of fun with this movie as I did, but it’s at least worth watching.  The Scorpion King gets “I’ll kill half, you kill half” out of “No need for concern, Miss.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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